Running head: Student Achievement Success Student Achievement Success Johanna Billingsley English Composition II Mr. Randy Baker November 5, 2009 All students deserve the opportunity to be successful in school. Improving the academic learning of students in schools is a major concern of American education. Large amounts of resources are used each year to help close the achievement gap and level the playing field for students in our educational system. Without academic success, this country’s population will be ill equipped to fully participate in the workforce and society at-large.
This creates terrifying implications for our democracy, economy, and future generations. The U. S Department of Education defines “student achievement” as a students’ success in an academic discipline, an exhibited level of competency on some type of standardized test, or grade point average (2004, p. 9). Researchers have studied the factors that are directly linked to student achievement in an ongoing effort to develop approaches for improved academic achievement of students and aid in school reform. These links are studied in depth in the book Politics, Markets, and American Schools, by John E.
Chubb and Terry M. Moe. The results of this research found that student ability, school organization, and parental involvement are the most notable factors that contribute to student achievement. While the contributing factors work in tandem to promote student achievement, parent participation is the decisive influencing factor (1990, p. 101). Chubb and Moe conclude that, “High performance schools spend nearly 20% more per pupil than low performance schools and have lower ratios of students to teachers.
However, both high and low performance schools have about the same amounts of other resources, including same salaries for teachers and same number of enrollments” (1990, p. 99). Overall these changes indicate positive progress in reforming schools. However, student achievement does not show improvement as a result of these resources alone. Furthermore, assessment of student ability and achievement is an important part of our education system. According to Chubb and Moe, “When done well, assessment of student ability provides a critical tool for monitoring and encouraging individual student rogress” (1990, p. 116). In order to encourage this progress, researchers have determined that not only schools, but parents also play a vital role in student ability. The second factor that promotes student achievement is school organization. Major components of school organization and effectiveness include rigorous school goals, the leadership of principals and teachers, personnel, and practice. Effective schooling does not depend on one key element, but rather the sum of its parts.
Chubb and Moe (1990) describe the primary characteristics of school organization in the following manner: The schools with the strongest increases in student achievement had an academic emphasis on measurable goals. Included in this is an index of highs school graduation requirements in the 5 major academic fields and a measure of the priority that the school attaches to academic excellence. When specific goals are set the gains in student achievement are five times greater than schools without specific goals. The second characteristic of performance is the indicators of leadership.
This includes the principal’s motivation, and the esteem in which principals hold their teachers, including the principal’s dedication to teaching. The third characteristic of performance is the personnel. Personnel includes teacher professionalism; which subsumes teacher influence, efficacy, and absenteeism, and staff harmony; which includes teacher cooperation, teacher collegiality, and the principal’s vision. When any of these elements fail, the whole of the system fails, and student achievement gains falter.
But, when these elements work together, it is a well–oiled machine. It is clear that the gains in relationship to all other contributing factors of student achievement are enhanced by parental involvement. It is the major influence of the home where parents establish basic educational values and scholastic work habits. “Parent involvement” is defined by the U. S. Department of Education as, “the participation of parents in regular, two-way and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities” (EDU, 2004, p. ). The widespread belief in the importance of school-family involvement is evidenced by national policies like the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 which requires parent involvement in programs funded through the U. S. Department of Education. To fully comply with federal guidelines, many schools today must develop and implement school-family involvement programs. When parental involvement lacks, student achievement suffers. According to
Henderson and Mapp, students whose parents communicated with them and supported their learning were more likely to finish college and that parent expectations for their children to continue their education were associated with higher grades, test scores and passing rates (2002). This result will allow for future opportunities otherwise unattainable to our future workforce. The ways that parents can contribute to their children’s academic achievement are extensive. Henderson and Mapp examined 31 studies that specifically addressed the connection between student achievement and various parent and community involvement activities (2002).
The key findings of the studies offer schools valuable information about the kinds and levels of school-family connection that are more likely to produce higher levels of student achievement, and support the traditional efforts of parental involvement in both home-based and school-based activities. According to Henderson and Mapp, “The home-based activities include helping with and keeping their child accountable for homework, encouraging and reading with their child, and promoting school attendance.
The school-based activities include involvement with the PTA, attending parent-teacher conferences, concerts, and other school events like helping raise money for various school-improvement projects and volunteering at school during the day (2002). Home-based activities create an atmosphere of learning and place a priority of education in the home. School-based activities provide an example of the priority that parents place in the school. Coupled together, parental involvement home-based and school-based activities contribute to the outcome of student achievement.
Getting parents involved in their children’s school is a great challenge for educators. A survey of 100 elementary school principals found the number one factor that effects student achievement was a lack of parental involvement with their students (Kells, 1993). There can be obstacles that inhibit parent participation. For working parents, time constraints often prevent school involvement. According to the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, “66% of working parents indicate they do not have enough time for their children” (2009).
Parents must find the time to participate in their child’s school, and schools must provide supports necessary for them to be involved. Vase research shows that educators can do a great deal to promote greater parental involvement. Every attempt should be made to plan school meetings, activities, and conferences at times when parents are available to attend. It is important for schools to offer different forms of parent involvement, as no one form of involvement is necessarily right for every family.
Some of the ways educators can promote parental involvement include: frequent and positive messages from teachers, making parents feel welcome in school, reaching out to parents whose first language is not English, accommodating parents’ work schedules when creating parent-involvement opportunities, assigning homework projects that engage each child’s parents and family, keeping parents informed of their children’s performance and school activities, providing clear and practical information on home-teaching techniques, and developing a plan to promote teacher-parent partnerships at school.
According to the Appalachia Educational Laboratory, in a research brief on student achievement, “This close working relationship between family involvement and performance holds for all families and backgrounds” (2005). Communication is the key to a successful parent-school partnership. Education is the essential key to America’s future. As the world becomes smaller each month and each year, the jobs of the future are likely to demand much more of our students.
It is clear from the research that student ability, school organization, and parental involvement within the educational system lead to higher student achievement, which in turn prepares our future leaders. Although parental involvement alone can’t fix all that’s wrong with our schools, none of the other solutions are likely to work without it. Taken together, the factors that contribute to student achievement can turn the tide of reform in the American educational system.
As educators and parent’s partner together to implement the successful factors of student achievement, which include student ability, school organization, and parental involvement, the students – the future political, business, and educational leaders – will be prepared to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. References Appalachia Educational Laboratory. (2005) Linking Student Achievement to School, Family, and Community Involvement. Charleston: Edvantia, 2005. Retrieved October 27, 2009 from http://www. dvantia. org/pdta/pdf/FamilyBrief. pdf Chubb, John E. , and Terry M. Moe. (1990) Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools. Washington, D. C. : The Brookings Institute. Retrieved October 22, 2009 from http://books. google. com/books? id=mplqg6qzOGwC=frontcover=gbs_v2_sumsumm_r=0#v=onepage==false Cotton, K. , & Wikelund, K. R. (1989). Parent involvement in education. Retrieved October 22; 2009 from http://www. nwrel. org/scpd/sirs/3/cu6/html Henderson, A. T. & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Austin, TX: National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Retrieved October 22, 2009 from http://www. sedl. org/connections/resources/evidence. pdf Kells, Richard. (1993). Principals’ perceptions of factors affecting student achievement. Questia, 113. Retrieved October 29, 2009 from http://www. uestia. com/googleScholar. qst? docId=5000224069 North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL). (1996) Critical Issue: Supporting Ways Parents and Families Can Become Involved in Schools. Retrieved October 27, 2009 from http://www. ncrel. org/sdrs/areas/issues/envrnmnt/famncomm/pa100. htm U. S. Department of Education. (2004). Parental involvement: Title I, Part A, non-regulatory guidance. Retrieved October 31, 2009, from http://www. ed. gov/programs/titleiparta/parentinvguid. doc